Just Doing My Job…

After two random posts about my job and a brief description in the about me section of this blog, I suppose I could explain a little more about what exactly it is I’m doing. In case you’re curious about what a girl like me is doing at a place like this and whatnot.

I’m currently working at a call center, which you may have already gathered. It’s the typically glamorous life pictured in numerous commercials (“Representatives are standing by to take your call now!”) where the gleaming white-toothed, perpetually-smiling rep takes calls non-stop with the patience of a saint and the ability to solve world hunger all in the space of 9-hour workday. Not to mention this rep never suffers a single complaint or becomes fazed by the anger of a customer.

There are multiple variations on this theme. I’m a perpetual target of SiriusXM’s call center lackeys. (And, yes, I feel I can call them lackeys since they essentially perform similar functions in a call center in the same way that I do.) They call about that ridiculous trial offer I naively took out when I got my new car, and “Ma’am, don’t you want to enjoy your favorite SiriusXM stations again? With this offer, you get all your favorite channels plus a dog, a cat, a white picket fence, and free wireless for the price of just one month’s subscription!” Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating that last bit.

Needless to say, they are just doing their jobs as sales reps. I get that. I respect that. And I generally am kind in declining my renewal subscription. It’s always the same, too. They somehow ask why I don’t want it, and I inevitably respond: “I can get it elsewhere for free, so why would I want to pay for the same service?” Cold, callous, and totally true.

But SiriusXM is the sales model call center. You’ve also got another model in terms of fundraising and/or surveying. These people don’t call with your name, or maybe they do and it’s on a list they harvested from a paid list of names. Either way, they call with similar themes: “Ma’am, can we speak with the oldest male present who listens to the radio?” (That’s the most recent one.) Or sometimes they change it up to: “Ma’am, may we speak with someone in the household who listens to the radio?”

These people are irritating on a whole different level. I never gave them my name or number. I didn’t ask to be surveyed or otherwise begged for money. Nor do I honestly care if you’re doing a survey about ongoing radio trends in the greater metropolitan area. If you’re going to call back fifteen times a day, you’re going to get used to people like me who eventually answer the phone, wait for it to connect to the person on the line and simply say: “Please stop calling.” Click.

And then we’ve got my model of call center: the collections center. Note that these call centers are not to be confused with inbound call centers that deal primarily with customers calling in to make purchases, ask questions, resolve issues on accounts, or otherwise harass reps. We’ll deal with inbound call centers later.

My job is a simple matter of logging into multiple different systems on a computer each day, putting on a headset (which does get uncomfortable after hours of use), and clicking onto a desktop system connected to my phone that allows calls to come through. Our system dialer is active throughout the day, and it runs campaigns on delinquency.

Delinquency, you may ask? Yes. Delinquent accounts. I work in a company I will not name for privacy with accounts that are mainly individual debt. Think of it like working with mortgages, car loans, student loans, credit card debt and other similar forms of debt. The debt can be anywhere from a few dollars when it’s close to being paid off to over $300,000 in some cases.

To simplify it further, I am working with simple interest debt. The principal balance on any given account accrues interest daily, and in turn, payments go towards accrued interest first and then principal. Easy? Yes. The people I speak with would sometimes disagree, but that’s not my problem.

My job is just to call and try to convince people to pay their bills. They’re always bills that are past due by at least 17 or more days. They’re typically people who tell me they can’t make their payments for this or that reason, and I have to come up with a solution to their situation. Thankfully my job allows me to do this; we have assistance options available. But woe to the person who doesn’t qualify for a program or payment plan to fix their issues!

As you can imagine, it’s an easy enough job. I figure if monkeys could talk and type, it would be simple work to train them to do it. And it’s surprising the work hasn’t been outsourced to India or some equally incomprehensible country where the hours are unreal and the people are willing to work for much less pay than what I’m getting now.

But that’s what it boils down to, isn’t it? It’s a job, and someone has to do it. Unfortunately, until I can find another job, this is what I do.

So if I call you about your payment, don’t get mad. I’m just doing my job.

– RaeNez

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